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Sunday 18.11.2018 | Name days: Doloresa, Aleksandrs
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European Parliament supports ban on single-use plastic goods

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Baltic news, News from Latvia, BNN.LV, BNN-NEWS.COM, BNN-NEWS.RUMembers of the European Parliament have supported the proposal that bans single-use plastic goods on the EU market. The bank will extend to plates, eating utensils, cotton sticks and balloon stalks. The ban will come to force in 2021, as reported by European Parliament’s press-secretary in Latvia Signe Znotiņa-Znota.

Single-use plastic goods to be banned soon form 70% of sea pollution in Europe. The new rules state that from 2021 onward, trade of these goods will become prohibited, as reported by European Parliament.

«In addition to the aforementioned items to be banned on the EU market starting from 2021, MEPs also included on the list goods produced using oxo-degradable plastics, such as bags or packaging materials, as well as fast food containers made from foam polystyrene,» the press-secretary said.

National reduction targets for other products

In its plan, the EP stresses that in relation to plastic products that have no replacements made using alternative materials at the moment member states should perform measures to reduce consumption by at least 25% by 2025.

European Parliament also adds that the goal of the reduction will apply to single-use packaging of food and drink: hamburger containers, sandwich boxes, plates used for fruits, berries, desserts or ice cream. ‘Member states will draft national plans to encourage the use of products suitable for multiple use, as well as re-using and recycling.’

As for other plastics, such as beverage bottles, goals will be introduced to ensure they are collected separately and recycled at a rate of at least 95% by 2025.

Cigarette butts and lost fishing gear

Znotiņa-Znota reports that proposals were approved in relation to reduction of tobacco product waste. This especially applies to cigarette butts that contain plastic. New rules provide for reducing the volume of this type of waste 50% by 2025 and 80% by 2030.

‘One cigarette butt can pollute between 500 and 1,000 litres of water, and thrown on the roadway, it can take up to twelve years to disintegrate. They are the second most littered single-use plastic items.’

The plan states that EU member states have to ensure that at least 50% of lost or existing fish nets containing plastic are collected every year. Recycling target reaches at least 15% by 2025.

EP adds that lost fishing gear form 27% of all waste found on European beaches.

Increasing manufacturers’ responsibility

Among the activities included on the plan is making it a duty for tobacco product manufacturers to finance waste collection and management operations, including covering expenses associated with waste collection, transportation and recycling.

Similar requirements will be applied to manufacturers of fishing gear that contains plastic.

EP rapporteur Frédérique Ries: ‘We have adopted the most ambitious legislation against single-use plastics. It is up to us now to stay the course in the upcoming negotiations with the Council, due to start as early as November. Today’s vote paves the way to a forthcoming and ambitious directive. It is essential in order to protect the marine environment and reduce the costs of environmental damage attributed to plastic pollution in Europe, estimated at 22 billion euros by 2030’.

Next steps

EP report was approved with 571 votes in favour, 53 against and 34 MEPs abstaining. European Parliament will commence talks with EU Council once ministers of different member states have reached an agreement on their position in relation to this directive, Znotiņa-Znota reports.

Pollution volumes

According to the latest data from the European Commission, plastic goods make up 80% of marine litter. Single-use plastic goods to be banned soon form 70% of marine litter. Because of the slow rate of decomposition, plastic accumulates in seas, oceans and on beaches worldwide. Plastic residue is found in marine species – such as sea turtles, seals, whales and birds, but also in fish and shellfish, and therefore in the human food chain.

While plastics are a convenient, adaptable, useful and economically valuable material, they need to be better used, re-used and recycled. When littered, the economic impact of plastics encompasses not just the lost economic value in the material, but also the costs of cleaning up and losses for tourism, fisheries and shipping.


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